Bible Verses about Boldness

  • Proverbs 28:1 (CSB)
    The wicked flee when no one is pursuing them,
    but the righteous are as bold as a lion.
  • Acts 4:13 (CSB)
     When they observed the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and recognized that they had been with Jesus.
  • Acts 4:29-31 (CSB)
    And now, Lord, consider their threats, and grant that your servants may speak your word with all boldness,  while you stretch out your hand for healing, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”  When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God boldly.
  • Acts 14:3 (CSB)
     So they stayed there a long time and spoke boldly for the Lord, who testified to the message of his grace by enabling them to do signs and wonders.
  • Acts 28:31 (CSB)
    proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.
  • 2 Corinthians 3:12 CSB
    Since, then, we have such a hope, we act with great boldness.
  • Ephesians 3:12 (CSB)
     In him we have boldness and confident access through faith in him.
  • Ephesians 6:19 (CSB)
     Pray also for me, that the message may be given to me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel.
  • Philippians 1:14 (ESV)
    And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word[a] without fear.
  • 1 Thessalonians 2:2 (ESV)
    But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict.
  • 2 Timothy 1:6-7 (CSB)
    Therefore, I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power,[a] love, and sound judgment.
  • Hebrews 13:6 (CSB)
    Therefore, we may boldly say,
    The Lord is my helper;
    I will not be afraid.
    What can man do to me?
  • Hebrews  4:16 (CSB)
    Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.

For the waiting, we need a little courage

I was five minutes early and already nervous.

A friend and I were meeting up so we could drive together to an event.

The plan was simple.  Meet in the parking lot at 5:00.

At 4:55, I started worrying.

Did we say 5:00 or 5:30?  Did I have the time right?  What if we had miscommunicated?  What if I told her the wrong day?  The wrong place?  The wrong time?

This could be a disaster.

By 4:57, I pulled out my phone to double-check our messages.

Okay, I’m safe.  This was the right day and time and place.

But what if she couldn’t see my car where I was parked?  What if she pulls in the other side of the parking lot and misses me completely?

I crane my neck around, glancing from side to side.  Then I actually drive through the parking lot to make sure she wasn’t already there waiting for me and I’m just being ridiculous.

It’s 4:59 now, and yes, I am absolutely being ridiculous, but it’s taken on a humongous snowball life of its own and I feel powerless to stop it.

I am worrying about being late and about traffic and maybe we should have said we should meet earlier.

I am worrying about miscommunication and how I should have called her that day to verify the details one last time.

Then I start worrying about my friend.  What if she is hurt and in a car accident somewhere and she can’t call to tell me because she’s in an ambulance on the way to the hospital?

And then, just as I’ve worked myself up into frantic worry….my friend pulls in.

It’s 5:01.

She’s fine.  I’m fine.  We’re completely on time.

I really am ridiculous.

Every single day, I tell my son to ‘be patient’ about 20 times.  Maybe 50 times.

He wants juice.  He wants snack.  He wants Bob the Builder on the TV.   He wants to play a game.  He needs help with a toy.  He wants me to read a book.

What do I say?

Okay, in just a moment.  Be patient.

And, I act like he should just accept that.  I act like it’s a perfectly reasonable request for him to just snap on some patience.

But today, I’m recognizing that it’s hard.

I ‘m supposed to teach him patience, of course.  I still need to keep asking him to wait sometimes.  This doesn’t mean I need to answer his every whim and will immediately and turn him into a tiny tyrant.

No, I teach him to ‘be patient,’ but I do it with some understanding that what I’m asking him to do takes oh such a long time to learn.

Some days he’ll get it just right.

And some days he’ll fall to pieces just like his crazy mom does when she’s waiting for a friend in a parking lot at 4:55 p.m. and they’re supposed to meet at 5:00.

There’s something more, too: All these years, I’ve recognized how waiting takes patience (and who likes learning about patience?) and it takes trust (and who finds trusting without controlling easy?).

BUT IT ALSO TAKES COURAGE.

David wrote:

Wait for the Lord;
    be strong, and let your heart take courage;
    wait for the Lord! (Psalm 27:14 ESV).

and again:

Be strong, and let your heart take courage,
    all you who wait for the Lord! (Psalm 31:24 ESV).

I’ve missed it a million times.  I’ve read those Psalms and sang them and written them in my journal over and over again, but today it hits me in a new way.

GOD SAYS THAT IN THE WAITING, I NEED TO TAKE HEART.

I NEED TO BE COURAGEOUS.

I NEED TO BE STRONG.

And, that’s exactly what I need to hear in seasons of waiting because when I’m waiting, I’m full of doubt and questions and worry.

I think maybe I heard God wrong.  Maybe this is going to take forever and He’s never going to bring me through this situation.  Maybe the deliverance won’t come after all.  Maybe I’m in the wrong place.  Maybe there was miscommunication.  Maybe I missed God and He was already here and gone and now I’m outside of His will!  Maybe God is done with me and now He’s just left me here in this place.

I’m being ridiculous, I know it.

But it’s in the moments of waiting that I feel most abandoned and most afraid.

AND IT’S IN THE MOMENTS OF WAITING THAT GOD SAYS EXACTLY WHAT I NEED TO HEAR THE MOST:

Don’t believe the lies.  Don’t fret over the future.  Don’t question the calling.  Don’t doubt God’s ability or willingness to care for you.  Don’t think you’re alone.

BE STRONG, AND LET YOUR HEART TAKE COURAGE.

Originally posted February 12, 2016

This is just practice so mistakes are allowed

My eleven-year-old daughter stepped onto a field yesterday in all her field hockey gear.

She was the one on the field, but I was the one who was nervous.  Some of these girls have been playing for years and this is my girl’s first year.  Would they be gentle with her?  Would the coach be an encourager? (They were and she is!).

This is all new to us.  I don’t even come from a  hometown community where field hockey existed as a sport.  I don’t understand any of the rules or know how you move the ball  around with that funky, slightly curved stick.

When we picked out her equipment, I went to the sports consignment shop and asked a million questions.

She needs shinguards.  Is that the same as soccer shinguards or what?  She needs eye protection.  What in the world?  How do you know what size stick to use?  My goodness that ball is hard.  They really play with this thing?

I am an extreme novice.  A beginner of all beginners.  I’m starting from zero.

And that’s good.

It’s good not  to know all the answers before you even begin.

So, when she walked onto the slightly wet grass yesterday wearing her field hockey shinguards and holding her funky looking stick, I could not have been more proud of her.

She’s brave enough to try something new.

Me?  I don’t like to try new things.  I only want to try something I’m pretty sure I can succeed at, and by succeeding I don’t mean having fun.  I mean not looking foolish or making mistakes or ever falling down or ever doing it wrong.

You know, being perfect.

So, if I can’t be perfect, I don’t want to try.

And that’s wrong.  That’s terribly messed up and mistaken right there.   It creates a fear-driven paralysis and a performance-driven faith.

 

Not trying is the real failure.  That’s the mistake you can’t correct or overcome.

Trying something new takes humility and the willingness to  put yourself out there in a deeply courageous way.

 

I read these words today in a book by Sarah Loudin Thomas:

“… getting things wrong is nothing more than one of the steps on the way to getting them right” (Tapestry of Secrets).

Priscilla Shirer also says,

“mistakes are often the greatest teachers to help us learn to discern Him more clearly in the future.  So practice.  Stub your spiritual toes and scrape your spiritual knees.  And once you’re back on your feet, start practicing again” (Discerning the Voice of God).

Practice.

Maybe so much of my problem is that I’ve seen all of this—life, ministry, hearing from God, jobs and activities–as the “game.”

It’s competition time.  Perform.  Succeed.  Be perfect.  Don’t embarrass yourself.

But maybe I need to see it as practice instead.

Practice is about taking risks.  It’s about building skills.  It’s about ending the day as a better, wiser, more experienced player than the one I was this morning.

It’s about trying something, finding out it doesn’t work, and doing it differently next time.

It’s about learning from the coach and the players around me.  It’s about turning to Jesus, over and over and over again because I know just how much I need Him.

 

I’ve messed this up as a mom before and I so need to get this right, making our home and our family a safe place to try.  How can our home be a place where we applaud risking-failure while doing something new?  Where we cheer you on for following Jesus and you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be in progress?

I’ve messed this up before as a person, too, and I so need to get this right, being willing to obey God even when it means risking mistakes and stumbles and failures along the way.

After all,  I may see a mistake as THE END, but God doesn’t.  He knows this is practice.

The Psalmist says:

The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
    when he delights in his way;
24 though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,
    for the Lord upholds his hand.  Psalm 37:23-24 ESV

If our hearts are set on the Lord, if we’re delighting in His way, sure, we might fall sometimes.

But we won’t fail and it won’t be THE END.  We won’t be permanently disqualified from future ministry or written off by God as an unusable vessel, a disappointment, a failure.

No, the Lord holds us up so those moments when we fall, He keeps us from truly failing.   He gently sets us back on our shaky feet.  He leads us forward to try those steps all over again.

And the best part is, He always keeps hold of our hand.

 

The Darkest Time is the Perfect Time to Sing

Just a few days before the Great American Solar Eclipse arrived with all of its accompanying hoopla and rejoicing, my husband asked me this:

“Would it be crazy if we drove to South Carolina to  see the full eclipse instead of just the partial we’ll get here in Virginia?”

Yeah.  That’d be crazy alright, traveling about 7 hours one way on a busy weekend with four kids in a minivan.

Crazy!

But it’d also  by fun.  This season we’re in with four kids who are growing far too  fast, with two of our daughters in middle school this year,  that’s the time to do wild and crazy things.

That’s the time to  make family memories.

So, we started making plans.: texting family in South Carolina, deciding when to drive and how far.

I bought our travel snacks and packed up our clothes and eclipse glasses.

We crammed ourselves into the minivan on Sunday evening after finishing all our activities for the day, alternatively singing along with our CD or listening to our audio book as we traveled.

We drove there and back in a rapid fire turn around of two days,  making it  just in time to  see the eclipse and then traveling the long way back  home so my husband could go  to work the next day.

And it was worth it.

Before our trip, I’d thought seeing the 86% coverage in Virginia would be “close enough.”

I’m so glad I was wrong.

We didn’t even begin to  notice so many of the effects  of the eclipse until the sun was about 95% covered down there in good old South Carolina.

That’s when the shadows became crisply distinct and sharp.  Colors looked like we were seeing them through a camera filter.

Rippling shadows from the sun’s rays danced across the pavement in what we called “Sun snakes.”

Then the world dimmed and a chorus of wildlife roared into  activity.  Crickets, frogs, cicadas–all the singing creatures of the night snapped awake and sang.

They cut through the darkness with their music.

Moments later, the moon slipped right out of the sun’s path once again and normal resumed.

Back to  normal  light and normal shadows and normal colors.

And back to silence among the trees.

No more bullfrogs chanting nocturnal mating calls in the middle  of a  Monday afternoon.  No more crickets chirping in chorus for three odd minutes.

Song over.  For now.

Until later that night,  of course, when these wild musicians would sing once again.

Maybe at some point I’ll forget some of the eclipse effects, like precisely how the shadows looked or exactly how the light altered.

But I’ll remember the singing in the dark.

That’s the example we need, after all, when the world grows dim and darkness presses in on us, how Jesus can give us a song to sing.

And we can lift up our voices to heaven in wild and raucous praise even when we can’t see the sun.

The Psalmist wrote:

By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me– a prayer to the God of my life (Psalm 42:8 NIV).

God’s song is with us and within us, perhaps especially in the night.

Maybe it was that God-song that Paul and Silas were crooning aloud at midnight as they sat shackled together in the prison (Acts 16).

Other prisoners listened to this surprising “joyful noise.”

Singing in the dark,  what an oddity!  No wonder others took notice.

Who can make  a joyful noise when they’re chained down?  Who can join in a round of praise hymns when uncertainty looms and anxiety threatens?

Paul and Silas did just that.

Their worship shook the jail and loosed the prisoners’ chains, including their own.

But instead of hightailing it out of the prison, they willingly remained until God completed the work he was doing.

Beth Moore writes:

How encouraging to recognize that Paul did not discover the strength to leave his circumstances: he discovered the strength to stay” (Living Beyond Yourself).

When we’re feeling chained and imprisoned, when we’re surrounded by darkness, when hope is hard, we might feel  that’s the time to  be silent.

Maybe,  though, the darkest time is the perfect time to sing.

It doesn’t have to be loud and brave,  bold or confident.  It doesn’t need perfect pitch.

It could start out shaky and quiet and grow from there as the worship moves our own heart and cuts through the dark we face.

Our song of praise may not change our circumstances, but it may strengthen us to stay where we are until God leads us on out of  there  and into the light again.

Bible Verses and a Prayer about Courage

verses-on-courage

  •  Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV
    Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
  • Joshua 1:9 NIV
     Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
  • 1 Chronicles 28:20 NIV
     David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work.Do not be afraid or discouraged, for theLord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.
  • 2 Chronicles 32:7 NASB
    Be strong and courageous, do not fear or be dismayed because of the king of Assyria nor because of all the horde that is with him; for the one with us is greater than the one with him.
  • Psalm 16:8 NASB
    I have set the Lord continually before me;
    Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
  • Psalm 27:1 NIV
    The Lord is my light and my salvation—
        whom shall I fear?
    The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
        of whom shall I be afraid?
  • Psalm 27:14 NASB
    Wait for the Lord;
    Be strong and let your heart take courage;
    Yes, wait for the Lord.
  • Psalm 31:24 NASB
    Be strong and let your heart take courage,
    All you who hope in the Lord.
  • Psalm 56:3-4 NIV
    When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
         In God, whose word I praise—
    in God I trust and am not afraid.
        What can mere mortals do to me?
  • Isaiah 41:10 NIV
    So do not fear, for I am with you;
        do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
    I will strengthen you and help you;
        I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
  • Isaiah 41:13 NIV; psalm31-24For I am the Lord your God
        who takes hold of your right hand
    and says to you, Do not fear;
        I will help you.
  • 1 Corinthians 16:13 NIV
     Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith;be courageous; be strong.
  • 2 Timothy 1:7 NIV
     For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
  • Hebrews 13:5-6 NIV
     Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
    “Never will I leave you;
        never will I forsake you.”
    So we say with confidence,
    “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid
       What can mere mortals do to me?”
  • 1 Peter 3:13-14
    Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.”

prayer-for-courage

How to Do the Thing You Don’t Want to Do

anywhere-faith-quote-5

This week, I’m having to do some things I don’t want to do.

Life is like that sometimes.

Eventually, you have to just go to the dentist or get the flu shots for your kids.  No more procrastinating.

You need to make that phone call…have that tough conversation…ask someone for help.

When we’re obeying God and following Him “Anywhere” He calls us to go, it’s sometimes exhilarating. Other days, obedience can be difficult, messy, frightening and overwhelming.

This week, as I do some of the hard things, I consider how Queen Esther did what she didn’t want to do.

When her cousin, Mordecai, asked her to speak to the pagan King about preventing the genocide of the Jewish people, she wrote back to him:

All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law—to be put to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter so that he may live. But as for me, I have not been called to come in to the king these thirty days (Esther 4:11).

Still, instead of hiding away in fear, putting off the task, or running away from God (all of which I’m tempted to do at times), Esther chose the hard obedience.

Here’s what we can learn from her:

Pray and ask others to pray

Esther asked the Jews in Persia to fast and pray for her before she finally went before the king.

Her story isn’t one of a lone heroine rising to face an enemy. She … depended on the intercession of her people.  #AnywhereFaith

I pray some specific things when I know God is asking me to do something I don’t want to do:

Please:

  • grant me favor (Proverbs 3:4)
  • give me courage (Isaiah 54:4)
  • bless the work of my hands (Psalm 90:17)
  • make me competent to do things I can’t possibly do on my own or in my own strength (2 Corinthians 3:5-6)

Like Esther, I also sometimes make myself vulnerable and share my request with someone else. Just knowing I’m not alone helps me move forward.

Just do it!

Esther set a deadline—fast and pray for three days and then she’d go before the king (Esther 4:16).

Deadlines can work for us, too. We can pray and think about it forever, but in the end, it’s time to just get the job done.

After the three-day fast ended, Esther walked into the throne room uninvited and faced the king on behalf of her people.

Leave the results in God’s hands

One of the hardest parts of my calling is asking.  I send out proposals and ask publishers if they’re interested.  I ask businesses about book signings.  I ask for input on my book from others. I  ask people to join my launch team.  I ask radio stations if I can come on the air.

I have to ask.  It’s part of being an author, but it’s the hardest part for me because I fear rejection. What if others say, “no?”

I’m learning, though, to leave the results up to God.

Esther made a famous declaration when she finally decided to go before the king, saying, “If I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16).

These are words of submission to God’s big plan.

Whatever happens, no matter what the outcome, I’ve done what God wants me to do and He’s in control.

Sometimes I ask myself, “What’s the worst thing that could happen here?” And then I remember that any “worst thing” I face is still in God’s hands.

Success doesn’t depend on me, nor was it up to Esther to change public policy or the heart of the king.

Ultimately, we can walk in obedience and trust God with the outcome.  Even if the worst happens, He will carry us through.

Celebrate

When Esther obeyed, God saved her people.  As a result, the Jews celebrated, and they are still celebrating the Feast of Purim with “feasting and gladness” to this day! (Esther 9:22 ESV).

In a much smaller way, I celebrate even the smallest acts of obedience, too.

When I’ve made the phone call I didn’t want to make, talked to the person I was afraid to talk to, stood up for something when I was afraid to speak, or submitted a proposal when I feared rejection, I usually treat myself.

It’s not big or expensive. For me, it might be a a hot cup of tea or a piece of dark chocolate, maybe a morning off from normal work in order to rest and read.

Maybe your treat is a Starbucks coffee or a new book.

It’s not about going big; it’s about rejoicing over obedience and celebrating what God has done in us!

Want to learn more about Esther’s fears and how God helps us go “Anywhere” with Him, even when we’re terrified?  My new book, Anywhere Faith, is available now.anywhere-faith

Book Review | Find Your Brave

Find Your Brave
by Holly Wagner

Holly Wagner has experienced shaky times, including a magnitude 6.7 earthquake in Los Angeles in 1994 that caused devastation in her community.  She writes, “Figurative earthquakes can rock our lives with chaos and fear. And the aftershocks can feel just as devastating.”  In her book, Find Your Brave, Holly talks about how to find courage during the shaky times, the dark seasons, and the difficult circumstances in life.find your brave

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the book for me were her insights on the apostle Paul’s journey to Rome in Acts 27 as he traveled in a  storm-tossed vessel that ship-wrecked of the coast of Malta.  Each chapter covers a brief portion of Paul’s trip and experiences and then offers wisdom for our own journeys, such as using support lines to brace ourselves, knowing what to throw overboard, and setting our sights on hope.  While I’ve read this biblical account quite a few times, this was the first time I’d read a close study on this portion of Scripture and how we could apply it.

Holly also does something uniquely powerful; she includes a chapter on what happens when you’ve caused your own storm.  We tend to think about and talk about the storms of life as circumstances that happen to us.  But she’s right: there are times we cause our own storms just as the sailors did in Acts 27 by ignoring Paul’s advice about when to travel.  And yet, there is grace and redemption.  Even when our own poor choices or lack of discipline causes our troubles, God can restore and heal and bring beauty.

The book also includes a collection of scriptures to speak over your situation and a few discussion questions for personal reflection or mall groups at the back.  Every Christian will encounter storms in life, but these lessons from Acts can equip us for the future or help us right now in the tempests we face.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Disclaimer:   Heather King is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

 

We Celebrate Courage in This House (Because We Aren’t Naturally Courageous)

joshua1
Bravery doesn’t run rampant in this house.

My girls and I freak out about bugs.

We grab for a dry towel when water splashes into our eyes.

We talk through all possibilities and potential scenarios so we won’t freak about what’s new and different.

We inch into doorways when there’s a room full of new people.

We’re not adventurers or discoverers, explorers or conquerors.  We’re not risk-takers or rock-the-boaters.  We’re not the movers or the shakers.

No, we’re planners and organizers.  We’re the faithful and the hard-working and the folks dipping their toes in all gentle and nervous on the side of the pool to test the waters before jumping in.

That’s why we celebrate every victory in our house, every display of courage and every hint of bravery.

When my most fear-prone daughter announced this was the year she was really going to ride an actual roller coaster instead of the kiddie ride at Busch Gardens, we cheered her on.

I took pictures.  We celebrated and high-fived after her victory.

And when my older girls went on to try out other roller coasters, we looked straight in their eyes and told them we were so proud of the courage in them.

Even when my one daughter tried a roller coaster and hated it and complained that it was creepy and made her afraid, we still celebrated because she tried it.

She doesn’t have to ride again—that’s wisdom.  In Let’s All Be Brave, Annie Downs says, ‘The road to courage is lit by God’s wisdom.”

But to overcome her fears and try at all—that’s courage.

We celebrated a daughter not crying or freaking out over allergy testing and a toddler who climbed up onto the potty.

In just a few days, we’ll cheer them on as they step onto a yellow bus and head off to a new classroom, with a new teacher, and new classmates.

I’ve been spending all these years of motherhood cheering for my daughters to have courage.

I tell them:

It’s okay to make mistakes, so just give it a try.

I tell them:

God is with you, so don’t fear.  Just relax and trust Him.

I tell it to them and maybe along the way I’m preaching to myself.

Sure there are plenty of other kids who have faced down bigger and badder roller coasters than we’ll ever dare to try.  We’re no daredevils after all.  But still, that’s not the same as true bravery.

Bravery doesn’t require doing what everyone else is doing or trying to keep up with or match the accomplishments of others.  Courage is so personal; it’s not about you being like anyone else.

And, while not feeling any fear at all can make you look courageous on the outside, it can also make you foolhardy.

That’s not what courage is.

Being brave isn’t the same as being unafraid.  Bravery means doing the right thing no matter what, even if you tremble in your sneakers and even if your stomach flip-flops with fear.  

You trample all over the anxiety and the worry and the fearfulness and you do it anyway.

You don’t let fear control you, imprison you, or hold you back from what God has called you to do.

Those men and women of courage in Scripture didn’t follow God without facing their own fears.

When Mordecai told Esther that she needed to petition King Xerxes for the rescue of her people, she told him why that was too much to ask:

“All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law—to be put to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter so that he may live. But as for me, I have not been called to come in to the king these thirty days” (Esther 4:11 ESV).

Esther, the poster-child for Biblical courage, was scared out of her mind.  She knew she couldn’t obey God on her own so she asked her to people to fast and pray with her for three days before she finally set one foot in front of the other and walked into the throne room to see the King.

She was terrified.  But she took a stand anyway.

That’s being brave:  Obeying God even when you’re afraid.

God’s calling can cost us.  It can be frightening and unsettling.  He can ask you to face down giants or ask you to face down change or ask you to face down the unknown.

In all circumstances, he tells His people to “Be strong and courageous.”  He knows, after all, that we aren’t naturally strong or naturally courageous.

But He also knows we take courage from His presence.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2015 Heather King

 

 

Hope has a Name

Matthew 12

I froze on the sidewalk in the scorching summer heat with a six-year-old by my side and a toddler in the stroller.

We had popped into a grocery story 45 minutes from our home on a whim and then just as spontaneously decided to walk down to the Subway for lunch.

Nothing about this day was planned out or scheduled.  We could have just as easily been anywhere else at that moment.

But it was in that moment and there in that place that a stranger flew out of the doors of one of the storefronts, cigarette and phone in her hand, screaming at the air.

When she collapsed to the ground and cried so hard she almost stopped breathing, I rushed over, stooped down, placed my hands on her back and asked her what was wrong.

“My son is dead.”

That’s what she shouted.

It took time to sort through the mess of it all, how she was still on the phone and her younger son had just delivered the news that her 19-year-old boy had been killed in a car wreck.

I sat with her while others emerged. People poured out onto the sidewalk wondering about the commotion.

Pain like that can’t be contained and hushed up, quietly hidden away so as not to disturb anyone.  Pain like that is what makes us reach out to other when they collapse under the weight of their own trauma.

An older couple who had been out shopping stopped and whispered the sad truth, “We lost a son that same way.  We know what you’re going through.”

Store managers took charge of the practicalities, bringing her water, calling her boyfriend, covering her shift at work, calling emergency services to take her home.

Then a young man walked down pushing his own infant son in a stroller.  He cradled her face in his hands and told her to give it to God.

He shared his own hurt, how his oldest son was in a coma about 8 hours away after a car accident four months ago.  “What else can I do but just keep going and give it to God?”

We were eye-witnesses and onlookers to the worst moment of her life.

My son squirmed in the stroller and reached out for me, not sure what to make of the scene.  My daughter quietly looked on, staring wide-eyed at the stranger crying right there on the pavement.

I reached out to reassure them and then asked if I could pray for her, and we brought the ugliness and the pain straight to Jesus.

This woman I didn’t know looked up at me with eyes that held no hope.

We can mosey about life thinking we’re doing okay or at least we’re pushing through, but when you’re knocked down onto the sidewalk, that’s what reveals the truth about us and the hope we’ve been clinging to.

This world constantly mistakes hope for wishful thinking, anyway, and we toss around “hope” like it’s little more than a catchphrase or polite conversation.

I hope you get that job.

I hope you have a good day.

I hope it all works out for ya.

I hope you get better soon.

But as Christians, we don’t have wishful-thinking-hope.  We don’t have positive-thoughts-hope.

Hope has a name and that name is Jesus.

And his name will be the hope
    of all the world (Matthew 12:21 NLT).

Jesus gives us confident-assurance-hope.  Because of Him, we have rock-solid-hope that God is with us and that God will save us and that God won’t abandon us.

In her book, Brave Enough, Nicole Unice writes about the word “tharseo” in Scripture, how it’s used four places in the Gospels and each time it’s spoken by Jesus Himself.

To a paralyzed man lowered down to Jesus by four friends who scaled a roof and took it apart in order to help their friend:  Take heart, my son;your sins are forgiven” (Matthew 9:2 ESV).

To the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years: “Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well” (Matthew 9:22 ESV).

To the disciples alone in the boat out on a storm-tossed sea: “But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid” (Matthew 14:27 ESV).

To the disciples…and to us….”I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 ESV).

Nicole Unice says this word means:

Tharseo: Courage.
Jesus is near!
Forgiven sin.
Healed lives.
Powerful presence.”

Take Heart.

It’s Jesus we need.  It’s in His presence we find courage, forgiveness, healing, and yes, we find the Hope we’ve been looking for.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2015 Heather King

Why not riding a roller coaster is really being brave (no matter what anyone else says)

Bravery doesn’t run rampant in this house.

Me and my girls freak out about bugs.joshua1

We grab for a dry towel when water splashes into our eyes.

We talk through all possibilities and potential scenarios so we won’t freak about what’s new and different. 

We inch into doorways when there’s a room full of new people.

Me and these three daughters of mine, we’re not adventurers or discoverers, explorers or conquerors.  We’re not risk-takers or rock-the-boaters.  We’re not the movers or the shakers.

No, we’re planners and organizers.  We’re the faithful and the hard-working and the folks dipping their toes in all gentle and nervous on the side of the pool to test the waters before jumping in.

I’ve been spending all these years of motherhood encouraging my daughters to have courage. 

I tell them:

It’s okay to make mistakes, so just give it a try.

I tell them:

God is with you, so don’t fear.  Just relax and trust Him.

I tell it to them and maybe along the way I’m preaching to myself.

So, there we were at the amusement park this week for the last hurrah of summer break. And this daughter of mine, the one who screeches the loudest of all about spiders, announces she wants to ride her first big roller coaster.

Oh, yes, the real roller coaster, not the one with a Sesame Street character on the front in the clearly marked kiddie zone.

I balk at her request.  Is she sure?  Really sure?

Oh yes.  Her friends all ride this roller coaster and she has her heart set on it.  Today is the day.  She’s going to do it.

I poll the family.  Anyone else?

Nope.

No one else feels the need for speed today.

So, we visit all the normal rides and enjoy all the usual adventure and it’s just about time to go. 

She pouts.  She really wanted to give it a try and now she’d have to wait another year.

I decide right there that if this child feels the urge to be brave and say yes to what frightens her, then there was no way were leaving without her riding that ride.

Dad took her one way while I took the other non-roller-coaster riders another way.  This was her big moment.

Forty minutes or so later, we meet up again and I throw up my hands in a big question:  “So, how’d it go?”
She didn’t ride.

Dad says it simple.  She looked up at how high it went, down at how low it dropped, and wrinkled up her nose.  Maybe she really didn’t want to ride that ride after all. 

Maybe doing it just ’cause all her friends can do it wouldn’t be so fun for her.

Maybe she just needed to wait a bit longer.

And that’s okay.

Yes, that’s okay.

I was proud of her for stepping up there and looking over that beast of a ride and then making the tough choice to be wise and true to herself.

That’s brave.

I’ve spent a whole month this summer learning to say, “No.”  I’ve learned that bravery doesn’t look the same for everybody.

You stepping out in faith and saying “yes” when God calls, that’s brave.

Me doing what you’re doing just ’cause you’re doing it, or just ’cause it needs to be done? 

Or me doing it just because you want me to or ask me to…or maybe because society tells me I need to or because I don’t want to upset anyone by saying, ‘no’?

That’s not brave.

That’s being a coward in a brave costume.  It’s choosing to give in instead of stand up and say the hardest thing:  No, thanks. 

That young shepherd-warrior David stood in front of the Mighty King Saul and tried on the king’s very own armor (1 Samuel 17).

The King’s protective gear swallowed the teenage boy up. It was hanging off him, clanging and heavy.

It fit Saul perfectly.

It didn’t fit David at all.

So, he had to say, “No.”

That had to take courage, to tell a king, ‘No’ instead of just follow blindly and obediently.

I guess the truth is it takes bravery to do what you know is right, whether that’s saying, ‘Yes’ or saying ‘No.” Courage is knowing what God wants you to do and doing it no matter what.

In Let’s All Be Brave, Annie Downs says, ‘The road to courage is lit by God’s wisdom.”

During this year-long pursuit of God’s presence, I’ve spent this month learning to say, “No.” That meant seeking His wisdom and His opinion over everyone else’s and shaking off the people-pleasing and the cowardice.

Because I want to be where He is. I can do anything if He’s with me and only if He’s with me.

I found courage in His presence.  Courage for yes and Courage for no.

To read more about this 12-month journey of pursuing the presence of Christ, you can follow the links below!  Won’t you join me this month as I ‘Learn to Say, ‘No?’